Story By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – DOVER, DE – Persistent rain on Sunday foiled NASCAR’s attempts to start the Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway, forcing postponement of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race until noon Monday, to be broadcast on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The cars started rolling before 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, but the rain, which had stopped long enough to dry the track, picked up again as the field took pace laps around the Monster Mile.
Accordingly, pole winner Chase Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, the second-place qualifier, will lead the field to the green flag on Monday.
Pre-race inspection issues, however, caused a shakeup within the field behind them.
The cars of fifth-place qualifier Alex Bowman, 13th-place Martin Truex Jr., 29th-place Ryan Preece and 32nd-place Matt Tifft all failed inspection twice and must drop to the rear for the start of the race.
Truex, from Mayetta, New Jersey, considers Dover his home track. It was at the Monster Mile in 2007 that the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion picked up his first Cup victory in a race delayed by rain. Truex won that Monday, June 4 race by a whopping 7.355 seconds. In 2016, Truex added a second win at the one-mile concrete track.
But trying to advance from the back of the field will be a challenging proposition.
“It’s going to be tough,” Truex acknowledged before driver introductions on Sunday. “We couldn’t have picked a worse place to start in the back, for sure. It’s going to be difficult because, generally, this is the toughest place to pass there is, because it’s so fast through the center of the corner. And now we’re faster than we’ve ever been.
“So, it’s going to be difficult, for sure. But if we’re good on long runs, we can make it happen.”
During Saturday’s practice, Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn tried to make their car as versatile as possible, given the importance of finding speed both on the bottom and the top of the track.
“Everybody is going to be in traffic, and that’s going to make you pick different options,” Truex said.
“We tried to work hard yesterday on having a car we could move around with, because we knew it was going to be hard to pass, and you were going to have to find some air somehow. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s going to be tough.”
Elliott is the most recent winner at Dover, having broken through in last year’s fall race. Kevin Harvick, who will start sixth, is the defending race winner.